What happens if I don’t include my family members in my Will in Singapore?

inheritance family provision act singapore


While many Singaporeans generally create wills to benefit their family and loved ones after they pass on, this doesn’t always strictly have to be the case. For whatever reasons of their own, some testators may not include their immediate family in their wills.

As the testator, you may assume that your wishes are paramount and that whatever you express in the will should stand after you pass on. However, this might not necessarily be the case…

The Inheritance (Family Provision) Act (“IFPA”) in Singapore

Under Singapore law, the IFPA was enacted to provide for situations in which the deceased’s dependents are not adequately provided for in the will. In a situation where a dependent is not mentioned in the will, he may apply to court for a reasonable maintenance out of the deceased’s estate, as long as the deceased died domiciled in Singapore and is not a Muslim.

Under the IFPA, a dependent includes:

(a) A wife or husband;

(b) A daughter who has not been married or who is, by reason who by reason of some mental or physical disability is incapable of maintaining herself;

(c) An infant son (less than 21 years of age); or

(d) A son who is by reason of some mental or physical disability, incapable of maintaining himself.

For the purposes of the IFPA, a son or daughter includes a child adopted by the deceased under the laws of Singapore, Malaysia or Brunei Darussalam, and includes a child conceived in the mother’s womb on the date a father passes on. Unfortunately, under Singapore law, illegitimate children are not allowed to make a claim under the IFPA.

What are the factors the court will take into consideration when making a decision for a claim under the IFPA?

There are many factors the court will take into consideration, including:

  • the dependent’s financial situation, and any past, present or future income he or she might receive;
  • the nature of the property representing the deceased’s estate;
  • the conduct of the dependent in relation to the deceased;
  • the deceased person’s reasons for making the dispositions in his will, and for not making appropriate provision for that dependent;
  • any other matter the court considers relevant to that particular dependent.

Some of the other matters Singapore courts have considered are inter vivos (lifetime) gifts by the testator to that dependent and whether the dependent has previously squandered money that was set aside to provide for him.

What can I do if I want to make sure my Singapore Will is properly adhered to?

In the unfortunate scenario in which you wish to leave out certain dependents in your will, it is pertinent that you instruct your lawyer to draft into the will the reasons why you are specifically leaving out those dependents.

Your wills and probate lawyer will also give you further advice on what else you can do for your particular situation in the event you truly wish to leave out some dependents in your will.

If you'd like to hire us to draft your Will, get in touch with us here.

The information provided on this website does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information and content available on this website are for general informational purposes only. Information on this website may not constitute the most up-to-date legal or other information.